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Holiday Hair Horrors

Posted by Kara Baskin  December 10, 2012 12:00 PM

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This qualifies as a first-world problem, but I hate my hair. It looks like a squirrel mated with one of Donald Trump's old toupees. Every year around this time, I opt for a new 'do. In my fantasies, I think I'm going to strut into holiday parties and wow people with my glamorous, bouncy mane or at least get a compliment or two. Sometimes this happens. This year, I look like Danny Bonaduce in his prime.

I blame Andrew. Basically, I didn't want to get too short a cut, because he loves to tug at my hair. Ponytails are crucial. At the same time, though, the urge for something new and different struck. Flash-forward to my husband's annual holiday party, where I showed up with neon orange hair slicked into a limp wet ponytail.

I also blame myself. It happened like this: I tried someone new. There's nothing wrong with my old stylist, but I grew restless. I strayed. I thought the grass was greener elsewhere. We've all done it, right? Well, it was a mistake. The grass is actually dyed orange, with split ends.

This stylist was very nice, and I am naming absolutely no names because she meant well and doubtlessly did her best. The fault lies with me. Why is it that women who run corporations and discipline their children and have absolutely no problem screaming obscenities at bad drivers turn into simpering puddles of mush at the hair salon? I was terrified to speak up. Instead of telling her what I wanted (pleasant bob, touch up the grays), I began nodding like an eager idiot when she told me I needed a full dye job (cheaper, she said) and bouncy layers. I didn't argue. I didn't question. I just sunk into my seat and groped for sticky old copy of Us Weekly.

I knew things were going very wrong when she carted out the dye: It was roughly the color of movie theater nacho cheese left out in the sun too long. As she began painting it onto my head, I closed my eyes and steeled myself. Self, I said, it will look better when it's dry. Self, you need to try something new. Be brave. Soldier on. Make small talk. And so we got into a pointless chat about her son's new job, all while she was turning me into Bette Midler's long-lost twin.

Then she placed me under the dryer and kindly patted my arm. I assumed that when I emerged, in some sort of willful act of magical thinking, my hair doldrums would be lifted and I'd look like a new woman. Instead, she lifted the dryer and I nearly gasped. My grays were gone, but my hair was the color of Sriracha.

Then came the moment that every woman has surely endured: The Big Hair Lie. "I love it!" I chirped as she wielded a gigantic mirror, revealing enormous layers and cooing. "Just what I wanted!" Why why why? Why didn't I tell her to fix it? Why didn't I at least express some kind of displeasure or diplomatic surprise? I didn't want to hurt her feelings. I figured everything would just turn out better at home, after I shampooed it myself. I'm chicken. Speaking of chicken: She also gave me one long "bang" that resembles an enormous chicken wing.

At this writing, I'm contemplating my options. Between work deadlines and holiday stuff and Andrew, I don't have time for a complete overhaul. And while I know that my follicular woes pale in comparison to the strife that exists in our world, I'd still be grateful for any quickie hair fixes, similar tales of disaster, and commiseration. In the meantime, I'm happy that only Andrew's photo is on our holiday card.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Kara Baskin (@kcbaskin) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and mom to Andy. She thinks Sriracha and garlic make everything tastier. She loves Steely Dan and "Murder, She Wrote." Her More »

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